Revision week

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Revision week refers to a period in the UK and other Commonwealth countries preceding examinations in high schools, higher education institutions, and military colleges. Generally, this period is one week long and free of classes or assessment, permitting students to spend the period revising material, generally in preparation for final exams. It is not often allocated for mid-semester or ongoing assessment. Each day of such a period may be referred to as a reading day.

The term "revision week" is chiefly used in Commonwealth countries, where it is also known as "swotvac" or "stuvac". In Canadian Universities it is common to have a "reading week" or "Reading break" roughly midway through term (typically in February, though some institutions now also have an October break) that is often used to write papers, or prepare for midterm exams. In the US this period is generally referred to as reading period or (as slang) dead week;[1].


The term swotvac (swot vac, swotvac) is commonly used in Commonwealth countries, particularly Australia, to refer to this period. The term is a blend of the swot and vac (vacation), indicating the period free of classes. "Swot" (or less commonly swat) is a dialectal word (Scottish) originally meaning "to sweat", which found use as a slang word describing a student paying careful attention to his work. Swot as a verb suggests acting like a swot, studying for one's exams.

The use of the uncommon and outmoded word 'swot' has led to the backronym Study Week Or Take VACation or Study WithOut Teaching (or Tuition) VACation. There are many other different backronyms that can be derived, and the term stuvac[2] (STUdy VACation, STUdent VACation) is also found.

Though once popular and used by universities as the official name for the week, the term seems to have fallen from favour and replaced with study week.[citation needed] As of 2014, however, it is still used by at least three Group of 8 institutions on the academic calendar.[3][4][5]


It is scheduled after all the regular class lectures and before final exams. In some universities, reading days in the Fall semesters are being scheduled two days before Thanksgiving holidays [6] to extend the holiday weekend like a spring break. However, this break is followed by the last week of classes and final examination week. Such reading days will turn out to have the opposite effect and increase the stress levels of students.


In many cases, student governments have lobbied to introduce, extend, or preserve reading days as a day exclusively for study and have run into conflict with teachers who like to use it as an additional day for lectures or exams.[7][8] Another issue is that some students may prefer to take exams on reading day in order to get the semester over with.[1][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b University of Kentucky
  2. ^ The joys of Stuvac, by Asako-Sophia, 2006-10-1
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ University of South Florida Calendar
  7. ^ (PDF) Retrieved February 8, 2008. Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  8. ^ Officials review SGA proposal - News[dead link]
  9. ^ Exam period format adds to stress levels - University[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]